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Justin Ronberg Japarula / Snake and Waterholes (3A)

90cm x 20cm Acrylic on Canvas

SKU: JR178


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SKU: JR178 Category:


Justin was born in Alice Springs and grew up in the Northern Territory in towns such as Katherine, Darwin and Alice Springs.  He regularly visited the Nullabor country to spend time with this father’s family.

His father, Bunna Lawrie of the international band Coloured Stone, is from the Mirning country of the Nullabor coastal areas of the Great Australian Bight. Justin’s mother, Emily Anne Ronberg, a Luritja-Arrente woman, was a stolen generation child.

Justin, as the eldest grandson, felt his obligation and a strong desire to return to the traditional homeland and learn his peoples ways; to learn stories that were handed from generation to generation; from and Elder system which spans at least forty thousand years.  Justin is a proud Aboriginal man who chose to follow his grandfather’s Law and become an initiated man, a Wati (pronounced waddi).  Justin is entitled to wear a red headband and does so during performances.

At a very early age he was influenced by the spiritual sounds of the didgeridoo of the old people of the Top End of the Northern Territory, as they sat on the ground painted, and sung under the shade of the trees.  Justin was taught the puna also or didgeridoo skills by Elders who are masters of this musical instrument. Members from his mother’s family gave Justin in depth training and knowledge.

Justin chooses to make boomerangs, spears, didgeridoos, clap sticks and paint his stories on canvas using traditional symbols and designs.


The animals and reptiles that Justin paints in his artworks are totemic spirits and the Central / Western Desert Aboriginal artists paint their Dreamings to honour their ancestral spirits. Justin has painted his land just after the rain, with the green grass emerging through the desert terrain. The goanna has found a waterhole and is taking the opportunity for a much needed drink. The “star bursts” represent the Spinifex which is found throughout Justin’s desert country and the small roundels are the wildflowers that emerge in a burst of colour from late July to early September.

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